Raleigh, NC – With a bipartisan veto-proof majority, the North Carolina House approved Senate Bill 43, “Protect Religious Meeting Places,” which will allow concealed carry permit holders to lawfully carry on the grounds of a place of worship that also shares property with an affiliated private school, as long as the church allows it and the possession does not take place during any time of school activities.
“This legislation is about upholding equal protection under the law,” said Jeff McNeely (R-Iredell), who is the primary sponsor of a similar bill in the House. “Guns are already allowed in churches if they so choose. This bill will simply extend that constitutional right to churches that also provide educational opportunities.”
During the debate on the floor, Democratic Rep. Abe Jones of Wake County said, “This bill speaks specifically to a situation where education property and a church are combined. They have a right to protect themselves when worshiping. That’s all this is doing.”
“These churches have asked for this authority,” said Rep. Jay Adams (R-Catawba). “They simply want the same permission as places of worship that do not include private schools.”
The bill, which passed by a vote of 70-38, now goes back to the Senate.
Identical legislation was vetoed last year by the Governor despite receiving bipartisan support. The override vote failed due to several Democratic lawmakers switching their votes in support of the Governor.